Should I prune these fan leaves? Bruce Banger - 2nd week into 12/12

Hi all, I just flipped my Bruce Banger to 12/12 last week. I was wondering if I should prune off the lower very large fan leaves marked with an “x” at this point?

I feel I should so the energy goes into the top part of the plant but not sure if the fan leaves are needed to provide energy for the whole plant at this point.

Thanks for any thoughts!

I wouldn’t because remember they are still pulling in a lot of energy through those green leaves… but Im only doing my second grow. (I have read a whole lot!)

Thanks :+1:. That’s good advice at this point. Good luck with your grows!

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Are they covering any lower bud spots? The fan leaves are really just to get you through veg to flowering. Pruning them will direct more energy to the buds. And that’s the goal. I remove all the large fan leaves before week 3 in flower and then stop.

photos are easier to explain. Everything below the canopy not getting like, I remove take all the sucker branches. The bud they will grow will be larfy and no good. And then removed all the large fan leaves.

Thanks for the input. The large fan leaves are covers a couple bud spots but not many. But based on your photos an advice I may prune a few of them off this week and see how she does. If all goes well I will prune the rest off and turn it into a “lolli pop” . THanks again.

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@WillowGrower there are some good videos on YouTube showing to how to lollypop, top, super crop etc.

A couple of things I think are worth mentioning when growers bring up “defoliation”. No amount of nutrients will help the plant grow, unless they are first processed through the leaves. Only then, may mobile nutrients, commonly called “plant food” continues to the buds, for growth. The real name for plant food is called “photosynthate”, but for the purpose and ease of this post, let’s use the term “plant food”.
Leaves” have two main purposes:
1st, You can thank the leaves themselves for 99% of all the uptake of water and nutrients. Plants have a very small chain of water molecules that stretch from root to leaf, within the “xylem” (the woody center part). This ionic chain phenomenon is referred to as cohesion, whereas the entire uptake, from root to leaf, is called “transpiration”. Water is basically the blood of the plant. If you cut any leaves off, you limit the plants resources of water.
2nd, Leaves make all the “plant food” that the plants use to grow, while managing waste (O2), through the stomata. The stomata are very small pore-like openings in the bottom of the leaf, which exchanges new CO2 and O2, and water evaporation. “Plant food” is made through a process called photosynthesis, with in the chloroplast. Leaves are like a big food engine, but instead of 2 fuels like a car (gas & O2), leaves have 3 fuels (CO2 & Nutrients & PAR).
So, why remove them?
I’ve never liked the term of “defoliation” as it means “to strip (a tree, bush, etc.) of leaves”, implying all of them. I prefer to use their relative nick-names, “lollipopping”, “schwazzing” or even “pruning”, to limit confusion. These methods are not something I would promote anyone who desires larger yield, especially outside in full sun or if using auto-flowering seeds. Realistically, removing “any” healthy mature leaf will hinder growth & yield. A good rule of thumb would be to let the plant itself decide naturally what she wants to keep.
Distinguishing the different terms of training, or pruning growth is also a factor. Pruning a branch off the main stem, to manipulate growth direction, is not defoliation. Defoliation includes only leaf matter.
Growth “time span”, is also something that plays a roll. Depending on the cannabis grower’s view, any plant manipulation while in vegetation cycle may not be viewed as playing a role in final yield, while referring to defoliation. As an example, a farmer could prune half the vegetation off in veg cycle, but gives enough time for the vegetation to grow back, before entering into flower. If the factor of “time” itself is removed, the outcome of yield could be viewed differently. This does not apply to Auto Flower strains, as the cycles are fixed, and not based on light cycles.
Understanding what the flower actually is, is also important. Cannabis, being an “incomplete flower”, and a “raceme” type, generally has only male or female parts, where a complete flower has both. Nowhere within the flower itself, is there any leaves. Leave form around each flower. A “Raceme” is a flower cluster with the separate flowers attached by short equal stalks at equal distances along a central stem.
The “flowers” them self, do NOT require any light. No amount of light that’s exposed to each flower will help it grow any measurable amount, or yield more. It the physical features simply aren’t there for any measurable amount of photosynthesis to occur.
In botany, a “bud” is a knob-like growth on a plant that develops into a leaf, flower, or shoot. Only in the cannabis world does it mean “flower clusters”, in a slang fashion. Realistically, referring to a “bud” would be closer to saying “cola” or “meristem”, as it contains flower and leaf, and usually the primary growth area of the shoot.
Where/what is this sink?
“Sinks cells” are areas of new growth with low osmotic pressure. Leaves are areas of high pressure, hence why “plant food” or “photosynthate”, flow from high pressure leaves, to low pressure sinks; commonly called “osmosis”. Sinks can be in the roots or the shoots of the plant (new growth). After the plant food has been manufactured in the leaves, it enters into the phloem, starting at an area in the leaf called “source cells”. From here, osmosis carries “plant food” to its destination and use.
Now for an overall recap. Nutrients use the water to hitchhike a ride, up the xylem, to the chloroplast in the leaf. The leaf processes the raw nutrient into plant food. Then, plant food, enters into the phloem, and high pressure pushes it throughout the plant to areas of low pressure and use.
I do not recommend the removal of any healthy, mature leaf.
Good luck & happy growing


HI GFDuke! Thank you for that information!!! Very helpful in my decisions! I especially like the comment you made that stated “let the plant decide what she wants to keep” ! That seems very logical ! Also… my goal is not big yields and probably will never be. My goal is producing fewer buds that are high quality, dense, and robust. The Bruce Banger I have in this thread has about 6 main colas (all about the same height now) and I hope to keep it to that and no more.

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You’re welcome. That is a bit of information that was passed on to me a few years ago by an expert grower here at ILGM… I have stuck by it and it has proven itself many times.


Any update Duke. How does your girl look

Hi GFDuke…I’ve attached 2 pictures of my plants that I started at the 1st of this month. There’s 4 different strains. They are all healthy and beautiful and starting to flower. Would you not trim any of these fan leaves? I know I need more foil up I just haven’t done it yet. Thank you for any advice on the fan leaves!

No i would not trim. I would do some LST and tie the tops over so more light can get into the lower branches. If the leaves on the very bottom start to turn yellow that i would take them. The plant will tell you when the leaves are dying and therefore useless to its growth.

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Hi GFDude…I don’t know what LST means. Can you tell me please?

Low Stress Training

There are many videos on YouTube.

Search LST, marijuana

Wow, GFDuke, great read. I’ve got about 12 grows under my belt, and this is my first that I’ve decided to leave all leaves on through finish, only picking up off the floor the spent ones. I must say the ladies are the healthiest I’ve ever had! I did it this grow just out of gut instinct that every time I stripped them down it just didn’t feel right. Good to read a well put article…great response.

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LST is Low Stress Training. It can be done in a variety of ways. I like to take some string, Tie it close to the top of a stem growing vertical and pull the top over . Then i secure it to the side of the pot keeping the top pulled over. This allows the light to penetrat the canopy and in the end it will increase your bud production as well.

@GFDuke Okay…Older post but had a few questions about this subject…Very very interesting and forensic explanation on the whole genesis of the plant…You must have a degree in botany? :100: I fully understand what you conveyed in your post/answer and I will abide by it too!Makes sense…! Ive grown many many of different plants since I was a lil boy flowers,vegetables,fruit trees,succulents etc and I tried to grow cannabis@ 13…but Dad pulled them up! UUUURRRGGGG!LOL… I am of the opinion that one never stops learning when it comes to botany and horticulture endeavors! Great Read ! THANKS!!!